A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

John Oliver - Marina Hasselberg - The Warmth of Electronic Music
Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Marina Hasselberg, John Oliver - Dominion Building - August 6 2016
 

I am not a friend of electronic music. But I have a Vancouver friend who is a new music composer who composes electronic music. His name is John Oliver. You might expect someone who does what he does to hide in a scowl behind thick and round rimless glasses like Shostakovich. But that is not the case. Oliver always smiles and he is so enthusiastic with what he does that I believe I have an electronic music virus rampant within me.

For many years during my ignorance of youth I thought Walter/Wendy Carlos Switched on Bach was electronic music. I did not know then that Carlos was well ahead of his/her times. 




German/Portuguese cellist Marina Hasselberg (one of the few cellists I know who plays both the modern and the baroque cello) is lovely and has one of those aw-shucks kind of voices that border on the cutesy. But when she sits down to play you are not inclined to laugh.

Pristine - video by Hasselberg/Oliver


Cameron Ward in his Dominion Building office


By combining the warmth of the wooden instrument with an array of electronic equipment the Oliver/Hasselberg concert partnership at last Saturday’s concert at the newish (but very old!) Gold Saucer Studio (in winter the plumbing adds interesting noise to concerts) proved that there is warmth and little dissonance in new music and electronic music. That's one point for Oliver.



My friend Ian Bateson and I thoroughly enjoyed the four pieces (as per almost usual there are no printed program notes). In fact I really don’t miss them since sometimes program notes can read like those artist statements one finds in Vancouver gallery spaces.

Both Bateson and I are fans of Hasselberg’s playing and I can safely say that in John Oliver I have a brand new friend who might just not short circuit my present liking for electronic music.

Part of the charm of a concert at the Gold Saucer Studio (attended by a chunk of the Vancouver avant-garde and yes it does exist) is that the venue is in a building with lots of Vancouver history.

My friend lawyer Cameron Ward used to have a tiny office there. The door with the frosted glass window reminded me of images I could see in my mind while reading Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett thrillers. So did my friend, free-lance writer Mark Budgen who died last year.

In the late 70s I photographed a man who shot up in fame as a promoter of rock band concerts in Vancouver. His name was Norm Perry and his company Perriscope Productions handled venue tickets in Vancouver before the Ticketmaster mafia took over. My photograph of him resembles the portrait I took last Saturday of Hasselberg and Oliver. I do not believe it was in the exact same spot. Strangely enough Vancouver Magazine art director Rick Staehling must have noticed Perry’s right hand. There were five other pictures (I only took 6) where the hands were just right.


Norm Perry at the Dominion Building circa 1978













     

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The Smell of Paint in a Studio

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I'm Done



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11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16